(NEW YORK) — The mass shooting at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., that left at least 12 people dead and 50 injured could have a major impact on the legacy of the beloved Batman movie.
Box-office analysts previously believed the final installment of director Christopher Nolan’s trilogy could top the record-breaking, $207.4 million debut of The Avengers. But Yahoo movies contributing editor Thelma Adams said it’s unlikely the movie would break any opening weekend records now.
“You have to preface it by saying it’s only money,” she said, “and we’re dealing with lives that have been lost. That said, there will be some domestic underperformance. It is going to hurt.”
Because much of this weekend has been presold — the movie made $25 million in presale tickets, and shows in many cities are sold out through Sunday — the impact on opening weekend will be lessened. Adams said the massacre would not likely affect the movie’s global gross. The last Batman film, 2008’s The Dark Knight, made almost as much internationally, $469 million, as it did in the U.S., $533 million.
“Maybe opening weekend will be a little bit less, but then the drop will not be as great,” Adams said.
Warner Bros. canceled the Paris premiere of the film, scheduled for this evening, after learning about the shooting. Director Nolan and cast members Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Morgan Freeman also scrapped press interviews.
“Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident,” the studio said in a statement. “We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time.”
James Holmes, the suspected 24-year-old shooter who is now in custody, was carrying a gas mask, according to police, leading some people online to speculate that he was trying to imitate the the Batman villain Bane, who wears a gas mask.
Other cities are stepping up security at theaters in light of the tragedy. New York City police Commissioner Ray Kelly released a statement this morning saying, “As a precaution against copycats and to raise the comfort levels among movie patrons in the wake of the horrendous shooting in Colorado, the New York City Police Department is providing coverage at theaters where the The Dark Knight Rises is playing in the five boroughs.”
Police in Washington, D.C. have been told to provide “special attention” to movie theaters.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Heidi Hatch, KUTV
Jennifer Graham, Deseret News